Four days after the announcement of a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, Humanity & Inclusion teams are distributing assistive devices and hygiene kits to civilians in Gaza, and supporting reconstruction initiatives.
“At this time, it appears the ceasefire is being respected by both sides of the conflict,” says Laurent Palustran, Humanity & Inclusion’s country manager for the Palestinian territories.
After 11 days of violence resulted in 254 deaths and more than 2,600 injures reported by the United Nations, Humanity & Inclusion’s office officially reopened on Monday, May 24.
The 58 UNWRA schools that previously sheltered more than 77,000 internally displaced individuals are slowly emptying as people return home and reunite with family. However, many are still left without homes. Bombings destroyed 1,042 housing and commercial units and severely damaged nearly 800 other buildings.
“There is an enormous need for reconstruction right now,” Palustran says. “Humanity & Inclusion has experience in building homes and adapting them for people with disabilities, so we’re preparing to provide reconstruction support.”
Meeting basic needs
Teams continue to assess the needs of the affected population, identifying at least 1,045 people in need of materials or assistive devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, canes and adapted toilets. Humanity & Inclusion is already distributing those items.
Thousands have lost all personal belongings and essentials. Teams are distributing hygiene kits of basic needs such as soap, detergent and disinfectant, with plans to replenish other necessities.
Impact on schools, public infrastructure
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and damage to 54 schools, schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Humanity & Inclusion is concerned by the gap in education, and will focus on providing accessible and inclusive education in the coming years for local children, including those with disabilities.
Damage to public infrastructure has left the populations with limited access to essentials such as electricity, water and sanitation. Priority repairs will continue to get these services up and running again, but many key power and water plans are operating at partial capacity.
“With the ceasefire in place, we can take the first steps towards healing,” Palustran says.